It is finally beginning to look like winter around here in Connecticut, and we are loving it. White powdery snow is covering our trees, fresh garland is hung over our porch, and boots and gloves are covering our entry way floor. Old man winter has arrived!
As much as I am not a huge fan of these darker, colder days, there is something undeniably magical about the first few snowfalls of winter. There is nothing better than curling up inside, with our house all aglow, watching the snow fall. It is probably one of my favorite things about this season. Second of course though….to hot chocolate topped with homemade vanilla marshmallows.
We go through a lot of hot chocolate in our house, which means we also go through a lot of marshmallows. I’m pretty sure marshmallows are actually the only reason my kids ask for hot chocolate (and I don’t really blame them).
We have been using the store bought packaged marshmallows for years and never really thought much about it, until recently. I was playing around with a recipe this spring, trying to make Peeps for my kids and discovered just how easy making homemade vanilla marshmallows really is.
It’s essentially only three ingredients; water, sugar and gelatin. The process is a little time consuming (mainly because you need to allow time for the marshmallow to set), but the actual steps are fairly simple. You bring the ingredients to a boil, whip it all up really well in a stand mixture, pour it into a container of your choice, allow it to set, and then slice away.
But the reason I am such a huge fan is because they are insanely delicious! I guess I just never knew that marshmallows could be so good. These are so light, fluffy and not at all overly sweet. Plus they melt so beautifully. There really is no comparison to what you can buy in the store.
This is also a really fun thing to do with your kids. My crew loves to cut the marshmallows out into different shapes. Here I just made one inch cubes, but you can also use any cookie cutter you’d like to make fun different shapes.
These would make gorgeous little gifts as well. Rather than baking cookies to give to friends and family, maybe give these a try. They make a beautiful little package and are such a fun unexpected twist to a cookie exchange. (plus, added bonus, they require NO baking and NO frosting!).
Hope you are all staying warm this weekend, getting outside to enjoy the snow, and are curling up with a warm glass of hot chocoalate (and maybe these homemade marshmallows too!).
- 3 packets of gelatin (equivalent to three tablespoons)
- ¼ cup of cold water
- 3 cups of granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups of cold water
- 1 tbsp. of vanilla extract
- ½ cup of powdered sugar
- Non-stick baking spray
- In a small bowl mix gelatin and ¼ cup of cold water. Set aside.
- In a pot, over medium/low heat, dissolve the granulated sugar with 1 ½ cups of cold water. Once dissolved, add the gelatin. Stir to incorporate
- Turn the heat up to medium/high and let the sugar/gelatin mixture come to a low boil. (Be careful that the mixture does not boil over. This happens quickly, so you will want to keep an eye on your pot and lower the heat as necessary.)
- Let the sugar/gelatin mixture gently boil for 10-15 minutes. Set the mixture aside and let it cool slightly.
- Very carefully, pour the sugar/gelatin mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment. Add vanilla extract.
- Begin to mix on low speed (work carefully as the sugar mixture will still be very hot), after 30 seconds increase to medium speed, and finally to high speed after an additional 30 seconds.
- Continue mixing on the highest setting for five minutes, or until the sugar/gelatin mixture has come to a thick glossy white consistency that forms soft peaks. (If your mixture is still a little “runny”, continue to let the mixer run for a few minutes.)
- Meanwhile, prepare a 9x13 baking dish by spraying all four sides with non-stick baking spray. Then, place a piece of parchment paper inside the pan with the paper extending past the dish. (I like to make sure the “sides” of my parchment paper extend well past my pan to give “handles” that I can use to help release the marshmallow). Use additional spray over the parchment paper, as well as a little on the "handles".
- evenly sprinkle about a ¼ cup of powdered sugar on the bottom of the pan (over the parchment paper)
- Working quickly, pour marshmallow mixture evenly in the pan. Ensure that the marshmallow reaches all four corners. Sprinkle the remaining powdered sugar on top of the marshmallow making sure the entire marshmallow is well covered. Fold the edges of the parchment paper over the sprinkled marshmallow and set in your fridge.
- Allow the marshmallow to set for 8-12 hours or overnight.
- Once marshmallow has set, remove from the fridge and unfold the parchment paper. Using the parchment paper as handles, lift the marshmallow out of the pan and place on a cutting board.
- Use a clean knife to cut 1 inch cubes out of the marshmallows (or a cookie cutter). If your knife becomes sticky, be sure to clean it off with warm water (a clean knife will create smoother edges)